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“If I don’t do it, who will……?”

20th January 2023

As any fund salesperson will tell you, the best part of the job is getting in front of clients with a top performing fund that is right in the sweet spot of what you think clients need. Before I joined Hawksmoor, I worked at BlackRock (encompassing my time at Mercury and Merrill Lynch) for 23 years where I had literally hundreds of funds to sell; a fund for every possible occasion, asset class, theme, style, etc, you name it we had it. A key attraction for joining Hawksmoor in 2018 was that I would have just 3 funds to sell. That might be worrying for some salespeople, particularly if those funds were not very good, but for me it makes a refreshing change as I get to know them inside out. I also know that the Fund Managers are always on hand to help with meetings and supporting marketing materials. It helps that all three Funds, Vanbrugh, Distribution and Global Opportunities are excellent consistent performers. The Fund Managers, Ben Conway, Daniel Lockyer, Ben Mackie and Dan Cartridge (with founder Richard Scott still an active adviser) have an average of 20 years managing such funds between them .With their dynamic management, moving around the asset classes and underlying funds depending on where prevailing valuations and prospective returns are most attractive, they represent ideal core funds for most clients across the risk scale.  If I had them in my briefcase while at BlackRock, they would have flown from the shelves. I appreciate boutique fund management groups and funds with higher-than-average OCFs do not sell themselves, but that’s where I come in.

At this time of year we see lots of press articles with contributions from various commentators offering their top pick for 2023, and they all seem to be recommending the same well-known funds, often already huge that don’t necessarily need more promotion. So, it falls to me as the team’s salesperson to do some shameless self-promotion of perhaps the world’s best kept secret – The Hawksmoor Vanbrugh Fund. The reason for highlighting Vanbrugh now is that we have seen how cautious investors have suffered the most pain in 2022, due to their large allocation to government bonds given the industry’s long standing and lazy perception that bonds at any yield and price equals low risk. That proved to be dramatically wrong last year and it has shaken the belief in the traditional 40/60 equity/bond portfolio. The managers have written extensively about this subject over the past couple of years, so I won’t go into more detail here, other than to say that I think Vanbrugh would offer something different to a pure bond portfolio and some internal historic analysis has shown an allocation improves performance and lowers volatility. You can do your own research on the Fund but here are some stats to get you started.

The Vanbrugh Fund launched on 18th February 2009 and is the number one fund in its IA Mixed Investment 20-60% Shares sector (nee Cautious Managed) since launch, up 202.8% compared to the second best up 189.9% and the Sector average up 107.5%. Vanbrugh has also outperformed the Sector average 11 out of 14 discrete calendar years.  Further, it is the 6th least volatile fund since launch too (out of 62 funds that are still in existence) and it is one of only 6 funds to be top quartile over 1 year, 3 years, 5 years and 10 years. Four of those six funds have also been around since Vanbrugh launched, and Vanbrugh is the least volatile over that period too. Finally, the consistency of returns is excellent judging by rolling 5 year periods with it never underperforming the sector over every rolling 5-year period since launch (using each quarter end). In other words, every single investor who has held the Vanbrugh Fund for 5 years or more has experienced above average performance, resulting in a loyal and happy customer base. (all figures FE fundinfo GBP total return 18/02/2009 to 18/01/2023). Our Funds are capacity constrained in order to ensure the historic performance pattern is durable but at £250 million in size there is plenty of room to grow without any impact.

Although that is all backward looking and past performance is not a guide to future performance, we have confidence that the environment we are in now is more conducive to our valuation-led approach and are therefore optimistic that Vanbrugh could do just as well in the future as it has in the past. We are equally as enthused about return prospects for Distribution and Global Opportunities over the next 3-5 years. As a team, we all eat our own cooking and invest in the Funds, alongside our families, friends and clients.

David Chapman – Business Development Manager – Funds

For professional advisers only. This article is issued by Hawksmoor Fund Managers which is a trading name of Hawksmoor Investment Management (“Hawksmoor”). Hawksmoor is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Hawksmoor’s registered office is 2nd Floor Stratus House, Emperor Way, Exeter Business Park, Exeter, Devon EX1 3QS. Company Number: 6307442. This document does not constitute an offer or invitation to any person, nor should its content be interpreted as investment or tax advice for which you should consult your financial adviser and/or accountant. The information and opinions it contains have been compiled or arrived at from sources believed to be reliable at the time and are given in good faith, but no representation is made as to their accuracy, completeness or correctness. Any opinion expressed in this document, whether in general or both on the performance of individual securities and in a wider economic context, represents the views of Hawksmoor at the time of preparation and may be subject to change. Past performance is not a guide to future performance. The value of an investment and any income from it can fall as well as rise as a result of market and currency fluctuations. You may not get back the amount you originally invested. FPC820.

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